Well, that winning streak was fun while it lasted, but all good things must come to an end eventually. Unfortunately tonight, the New York Rangers eight game winning streak officially came to an end as they were defeated 3-2 by the Dallas Stars. While the Rangers didn't necessarily have a game to write home about, the Dallas Stars deserve a ton of credit as they kept the Rangers in check for the final two periods.
As has been the case for a majority of the last eight games, the Rangers were able to jump out to an early lead in the game, as J.T. Miller converted on the power play. Mats Zuccarello was able to lay a beautiful pass right on the tape of J.T. Miller, which sent Miller in on a breakaway, and he ripped it over the glove hand of Kari Lehtonen. We've actually seen this exact type of play go down in games prior, where Mats Zuccarello delays in the neutral zone, and fires a quick pass to Miller streaking down the middle.
That early lead was short lived, though, as just three minutes later John Klingberg ripped home one the Stars power play, and knotted up the game at 1-1. The first shot that Klingberg took was actually blocked by Dominic Moore right off the faceoff, which appeared to throw Henrik Lundqvist off a bit, as he wasn't able to see through the screen in front. With Lundqvist unable able to track the puck through traffic, Klingberg had a wide open attempt for his second shot, and ripped it by Lundqvist.
The Stars tying goal appeared to instill some momentum for the home team, as they were able to grab their first lead of the night just a few moments later. Ales Hemsky was able to convert on somewhat of a broken play behind the net, and wound up banking the puck in off of Lundqvist's skate. It's a goal that Lundqvist obviously would like to have back, especially in a game where the Rangers wound up losing by a goal at the end of regulation. But at the same time, you create your own luck by hounding the puck, and the Stars certainly did a lot of that tonight.
While the Stars go ahead goal was certainly deflating, the Rangers went right back to work, and tied the game back up exactly a minute later. Kevin Hayes chipped his fifth of the season after he got a piece of Marc Staal's point shot, and deflected it past Lehtonen. Huge props to Staal as well, who saw Hayes set up in front, and placed the shot perfectly for him to get a stick on the puck.
The first period was definitely an entertaining period by both teams, but the following 40 minutes only churned out one goal, which went in favor of Stars. With the Rangers still holding their heads high after tying up the game late in the first period, Antoine Roussel converted just 54 seconds into the second period, which eventually became the game winning goal. Roussel was able to cash in a lively bounce off of the backboards, and came right back out in front of the net for the easy tap in. While the goal itself was the result of a lucky bounce, the Rangers didn't do themselves any favors with Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh both drifting up towards the shooter.
McDonagh being out of position allowed Roussel enough time to corral the loose puck, and slam it home before anyone knew what hit them. Throughout the final 39 minutes, the Rangers have a handful of opportunities to tie the game back up, but were unable to convert. One of their best chances came late in the third period, when Dan Boyle was absolutely robbed at the top of the crease by Kari Lehtonen, and was essentially a game saver. With the goalie pulled in the final minute of the game, the Rangers weren't able to get a ton of offensive zone pressure, and the game eventually ended 3-2 in favor of the Stars.
The Rangers will have a scheduled off day tomorrow before they head into Sunrise, FL for a meeting with the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.